Independent renewable energy developer RP Global recently announced that the construction of the first phase of its 200MW solar-hybrid mini-grid project in Tanzania was in progress.
RP Global is the majority shareholder of JUMEME Rural Power Supply, a Tanzanian mini-grid operator using solar-battery-diesel hybrid power systems connected to medium and low voltage distribution networks.
In this first scaling phase, 11 new mini-grids are currently being constructed, for an installed capacity of 425kW that will bring 24/7 electricity supply to a population of more than 80,000 people in Tanzania.
Built on a cluster of islands in Lake Victoria, these independent solar-hybrid mini-grids, equipped with battery storage technology, will electrify 20 villages. Commissioning is scheduled to take place in June 2019.
In the second scaling phase of the project, JUMEME aims to build up to 11 more mini-grids to electrify 23 additional villages, bringing energy services to 160,000 people.
Leo Schiefermüller, Director of RP Global Africa, commented: “Besides the existing legal framework and the favorable solar resources, our decision to invest in Tanzania is a direct consequence of the low electrification rate in the country. Solar hybrid mini-grids are the least-cost electrification option, especially in rural areas and the pay-as-you-go business model of JUMEME makes electricity consumption for the customer affordable.”
Many remote communities in Tanzania are still without access to electricity. In these areas, the population is widely dispersed across numerous distant villages and small towns making it hard to connect them through the national grid.
“By 2023, JUMEME could supply high quality and reliable electricity to 1 million Tanzanians, making this company the largest mini-grid operator in Sub-Sahara Africa, if the political and regulatory situation improves for investors” concluded Schiefermüller.
JUMEME is financially supported by the European Union under the ACP-EU Energy Facility, and REA, Tanzania’s Rural Energy Agency.
Tanzania’s sunshine hours per year range between 2,800 and 3,500 with global horizontal radiation of 4–7kWh per m2 per day.
To date, about 5.3MWp of Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy have been installed in Tanzania.
The Government supports solar development within the country by removing VAT and import taxes on the main solar components (panels, batteries, inverters, and regulators).